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What is up with the F-35? Part II

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  • #76
    Originally posted by Zinja View Post
    Ahhhhhh, that answers everything! So its not the AC itself here, its just a numbers thing.

    Come to think of it then, we can then expect the price to drop significantly once the full production rates kick in.......probably below $100m?
    In a best case scenario. But better to plan for around $100-110 million just to cover all bases.

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    • #77
      Yeah, I missed that this price was for the next lot. I thought it was an estimate for price when in full rate production. Fingers crossed that additional problems and reduced buys don't jack the cost per unit way up.
      No One Kicks A$! Without Tanker Gas

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      • #78
        It's pretty clear to me now that the F-35 was a massive mistake for the US Armed Forces. Who needs a stealthy VSTOL close air support plane? No one. Who needs a stealthy light tactical fighter? It's overkill. The Navy's requirement for a stealthy strike plane makes the most sense, but again while trying to adapt a single airframe to perform three roles they wind up with a watered down version of anything useful.

        The USAF should have procured a FB-23 fighter bomber to truely replace the F-117 in the stealthy precision strike role, and it could have been used in the first-day-of-war attack capacity in the same way the F-22 was invisioned in the air-to-air role.

        With 400 F-22's and 200 FB-23's, the USAF could have used all the rest of the money it wouldn't have spent on the F-35A with a total fleet replacement of it's F-16C Fighting Falcons and F-15E Strike Eagles. This would have given the Reserve and Air Guard the newest of the old existing platforms and the active units new-built planes. The F-15C's could have been completely retired, and the A-10 and bomber fleets wouldn't have had to be nickel-and-dimed as they have been over the last decade. All while providing a more potent and useful stealth capability.

        The US Navy could used their money to replace the F-14 and F/A-18 legacy fleets with an upgraded Tomcat and the Super Hornet that would have prevented the decade long 'strike fighter gap' they're just starting to experience. This would have provided enhanced capability today and they could have begun work on a suitable stealthy strike plane that would actually meet their needs for fielding in the 2020 time frame.

        The USMC should have had F/A-18F's shoved down their throat for the attack mission, EA-18G's for the electronic attack mission, and a new batch of Harriers for the close air support mission (is anything else really necessary?)

        In my mind this would all have cost less then the F-35 has swallowed to date, and the air components of the US Amred Forces would be in a much better situation today as well as going forward.

        Hindsight is 20/20, not much you can do about it now. Got to give props to the US Army for forseeing a similar future in the Commanche and redistributing its dollars elsewhere before it was too late.

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        • #79
          ANALYSIS | F-35 jet a bargain at $65M?

          It's not every day that a defence contractor tells you you're planning to pay way too much for their latest high-tech gizmo.
          But don't say it can't happen. When buyers are drowning in debt and sticker shock sets in, it's only natural for sellers to announce that they've got a great deal, just for you.
          Still, who knew we could snag 65 state-of-the-art F-35 fighter jets for just $65 million a pop?
          If that sounds like a lot, you obviously don't spend much time shopping for fighter jets. That price is a cool $10 million less for each fighter than Canada's Defence Department has already budgeted. Let's see: we ordered 65 planes multiply that by a saving of $10 million each and hey! We could save a ton of money here!
          As strange as it may seem, that is what Lockheed Martin vice-president Stephen O'Bryan told CBC News in an interview at the company's vast F-35 manufacturing plant in Fort Worth, Texas, last week. Sure, the early prototypes are hideously costly more than $150 million a copy, but Canada won't be buying until 2016, when production is at full speed, says O'Bryan, so the cost of each jet will fall.
          By then, he says, "average unit price of the airplane would be $65 million." Is that with an engine? "Yes, sir."
          An ex-fighter pilot who flew "shock and awe" missions in Iraq, O'Bryan says he means a "fully combat airplane," including an $11-million engine, sensors, guns, stealth coatings, the works. What about all those estimates that it's going to cost much, much more than $65 million? O'Bryan has locked on to that little missile before you even launch it.
          "Some people use different numbers and those numbers are not necessarily relevant," he says. They include development costs, he adds, which Canadians will not pay. So, can we count on that price of $65 million each in 2016 when we have to pay up?
          "You can!" says O'Bryan.
          But can we really?
          Those who have followed this tangled tale from the beginning will know, like Senator John McCain, that we have come a long way since Lockheed Martin first told us their new fighter would cost only $65 million. That was 10 years ago, before an epic saga of delays, software snafus, design changes, restructurings and runaway cost overruns which now has the project five years behind schedule. Even the hawkish McCain, who's no stranger to fighters, calls the F-35 program "a train wreck."
          He said that in May, at a hearing of the Senate armed services committee which featured his searing indictment of the F-35 program. Instead of $65 million, he said, the real cost of each F-35 would be $133 million and will likely go higher.
          Since he got that number from the Pentagon, the assembled Pentagon brass could only nod glumly and agree that the program is "unaffordable" unless a way is found to drive the cost down. McCain doesn't see that happening. We must start looking for options, he said. Consider this ominous exchange between McCain and Ashton Carter, the Pentagon's chief buyer:
          McCAIN: "Right now, it's not an affordable program and the sustainment costs are not affordable is that correct?"
          CARTER: "That is correct. If you believe if we live the estimates, we can't afford to pay that much."
          McCAIN: "It seems to me we have to start at least considering alternatives."
          Easy to say but where is that alternative? Defence Minister Peter MacKay, visiting the Pentagon last week, said bluntly that it doesn't exist.
          "The reality is," said MacKay as Defence Secretary Leon Panetta stood beside him, "this is the best and only fifth-generation aircraft available to Canada."
          So, doesn't that mean that Lockheed Martin has the taxpayer over a barrel? Back at the F-35 plant, program boss Stephen O'Bryan says, "I wouldn't say so right now. There's always competition."
          There's really nothing on offer, however, that has the stealth capabilities of the F-35, and its "interoperability" with the U.S. and its allies assuming they all go ahead with their plans to buy it.
          And there's the rub: what if they don't? Some of those allies, like the U.S. itself, are awash in debt. Some are delaying or reducing their orders. Canada's Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page thinks the real price will be closer to $148 million a plane. Such doubts are so widespread that there is talk of what the aviation industry tactlessly calls a "death spiral."
          A "death spiral" is where fewer orders mean smaller economies of scale, leading to higher prices for each plane, leading to fewer orders, which means well, you see where this is going.
          We're not there spiralling downward yet. But it's easy to see why Lockheed Martin might be very keen to keep buyers on the line with promises of low, low prices. And Canada has no signed contract yet. In 2016, who knows what the real cost will be?
          The question of the real cost has dogged Ottawa for years. The former Liberal government signed up for the F-35 program because, for our $65 million, we'd get a so-called "fifth-generation" stealth fighter, loaded with the latest technology. Who needs a boring old heads-up display for the pilot when he can now have a helmet-mounted one? He turns his head and the display moves with him! Or it will, if they ever get the thing to work. So far, it doesn't.
          But the plane was not just supposed to be advanced. It was also going to be cheap. It would be a multi-purpose design which would eliminate the need to build different planes for different tasks bombing runs, or carrier takeoffs, or Harrier-type vertical landings. (Actually, that last part isn't going too well, either. The Pentagon has put the vertical-landing version of the F-35 on "probation" for two years.)
          The theory was that the U.S. and its allies would have one common airframe, one production line, one engine think of the economies of scale!
          Well, the Pentagon, Lockheed Martin and allied governments around the globe are thinking hard now. The plan could still fly if buyers hang in. But will the bargain prices come true? For a clue, check the Israeli defence budget. The Israelis, like John McCain, know something about fighters, and currently their budget for 20 planes is not anywhere close to $65 million each. It's more than double that: $137 million each.
          Perhaps they don't believe in deals that seem too good to be true.Link
          Is LM just lying with a straight face here?

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          • #80
            As I believe I've mentioned already, the costs, when adjusted for inflation, are not all that horrific, even when you look at the higher estimates.

            Circa 1980, IIRC, a new F-15 was something like $35M and an F-16 was maybe 20 M$. 35 million in 1980 is worth 91 million in 2010. And I think we can all agree that the F-35 is going to be more capable than the older aircraft.

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            • #81
              F-35B first landing aboard USS Wasp.

              Video - F 35B 1st landing on USS WASP - Washington DC aviation news | Examiner.com
              Fortitude.....The strength to persist...The courage to endure.

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              • #82
                Originally posted by Dreadnought View Post
                See post 63 and 64.
                No One Kicks A$! Without Tanker Gas

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                • #83
                  and who said it's ugly

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                  • #84
                    Originally posted by Zinja View Post
                    Beautiful! Now the more difficult bit - taking off vertically.
                    Is it supposed to be harder to take off vertically than land vertically? I would have thought landing (vertically or otherwise) on a moving target would be harder than lifting off from one.
                    No One Kicks A$! Without Tanker Gas

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                    • #85
                      Originally posted by paintgun View Post
                      and who said it's ugly

                      Nice A/C this jet got
                      No such thing as a good tax - Churchill

                      To make mistakes is human. To blame someone else for your mistake, is strategic.

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                      • #86
                        Rumour and innuendo has the vertical flight characteristics of the F-35 to be much easier (and safer) than the Harrier, due to the more modern controls, and the lift-fan creating a much higher available thrust.

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                        • #87
                          Originally posted by Phoenix10 View Post
                          Is it supposed to be harder to take off vertically than land vertically? I would have thought landing (vertically or otherwise) on a moving target would be harder than lifting off from one.
                          I think he meant difficult as in more difficult for the aircraft, not the pilot; an aircraft requires more installed thrust to take-off than it does to land, since you're accelerating against gravity. Landing is basically a controlled crash, so it's a little easier on the aircraft (except for the crashing part).

                          Also, typically, when you're landing you have a lot less fuel onboard, which means the aircraft is a lot lighter and therefore easier to control. I know the Harrier is incapable of taking off vertically when it has a full load of fuel and weapons, it can only do a rolling take-off (STO); not sure about the F-35.
                          "There is never enough time to do or say all the things that we would wish. The thing is to try to do as much as you can in the time that you have. Remember Scrooge, time is short, and suddenly, you're not there any more." -Ghost of Christmas Present, Scrooge

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                          • #88
                            Originally posted by Stitch View Post
                            I think he meant difficult as in more difficult for the aircraft, not the pilot; an aircraft requires more installed thrust to take-off than it does to land, since you're accelerating against gravity. Landing is basically a controlled crash, so it's a little easier on the aircraft (except for the crashing part).

                            Also, typically, when you're landing you have a lot less fuel onboard, which means the aircraft is a lot lighter and therefore easier to control. I know the Harrier is incapable of taking off vertically when it has a full load of fuel and weapons, it can only do a rolling take-off (STO); not sure about the F-35.
                            Gotcha, I was only thinking in terms of the pilot. That makes sense.
                            No One Kicks A$! Without Tanker Gas

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                            • #89
                              Second F-35B (BF-4) just landed on the Wasp.

                              2nd F-35B lands vertically on USS WASP - YouTube

                              And another pic of BF-2 earlier in the week:
                              Attached Files
                              No One Kicks A$! Without Tanker Gas

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                              • #90
                                I fail to see the continuing hysteria on JSF pricing. The RAAF price still accepted by Govt and Defence is $67m per plane flyaway (and as recently as 3 weeks ago). Unless the US dramatically drops numbers (and that means a quarter of projected assets that would not cover off projected partner sales that the "externals" are indicating (externals being those outside the current 8.3 group)

                                JSF is already causing dramatic change in how the 9 of us are establishing future constructs not just in kinetic fighting but in the C5/I3 area. Those changes are happening now, they're not theoretical. Its even more evident to the US where they've realised that the slashing of the F-22 was not that smart - and the fact that the only platform able to act as a true enabler of evolving C5I3 in a theatre event is JSF.

                                The doom and gloom stories just don't stack up against what is actually happening in current force development.

                                As has been stated numerous times by the USAF project manager to Australian industry and the media, the Australian JSF is the same as the USAF JSF apart from some additional local comms needs.
                                Last edited by gf0012-aust; 07 Oct 11,, 07:26.
                                Linkeden:
                                http://au.linkedin.com/pub/gary-fairlie/1/28a/2a2
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